Kite & String Baldwin Cider

Review of Finger Lakes Cider House’s Kite & String (formerly Good Life Cider) Baldwin.  This is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Baldwin
Cidery:  Kite & String
Cidery Location:  Interlaken, New York
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft heritage cider from Baldwin & Wickson crabapples, semi-dry, traditional method (methode champenoise)

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Availability:  likely only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Made from Baldwin apples, with a modest addition of Wickson Crab, this blend highlights the bright tropical notes and intense acidity of these varieties. The high alcohol and robust flavor come from the cryoextraction process (similar to Ice Cider) used to concentrate this juice to 20 brix prior to fermentation. It is then fermented slowly to retain maximum esters and polyphenols, and aged for only a short time to best showcase its fresh and bright, fruit-forward nature.

Semi Dry, Traditional Method.  Pineapple, lime, and Riesling on the nose. Bursting with bright, tropical fruitiness and slight perceptive sweetness on the front palate, moving to thirst quenching mid palate and bracing acidity with a dry, weighty finish.

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun. ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York. Please come and visit us in the tasting room any time of the year.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  online
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard they were doing free shipping for the holidays, and I’ve always read good things about their ciders, so it was an easy choice to place an order.  Plus, they have a nice wide selection for all tastes (although it looks like they sold out of this variety since I purchased it).  I also picked up their Honeoye and Royal Cider.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of sharp apples and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and hints of floral.  Long tart warming finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t super into this cider.  I thought the acidity, carbonation, and ABV overpowered the fruitiness, and it was mouth-puckering tart for my tastes.  Actually it tasted more like champagne than cider.  However, my husband loved it.  If you are into drier, super tart, highly carbonated champagne-alternative ciders, I’d recommend it.  I tried this at multiple temperatures and seemed to like it closer to room temperature to tone down the tartness some.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut cider

Closing Notes:  Despite being too tart for my liking, this was a great New Year’s Eve selection, as it is bubbly, and with a higher ABV, one bottle lasted all night.  I bet any leftovers would make good mimosas too, although we didn’t have any left…

Have you tried Kite & String cider?  What did you think?


Eve’s Cidery Autumn’s Gold

Review of Eve’s Cidery Autumn’s Gold.  It is my first time trying this cider, although I have previously had their Beckhorn Hollow.  I ordered a total of three bottles when they had their free shipping sale before the holidays.  They ended up having to ship it twice, as UPS broke the first shipment (after it made it all the way across the country to the Seattle facility).

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Cider:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery:  Autumn’s Gold 2015
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American Artisan cider from cider apples, a mix of wild & added yeast, naturally sparkling

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Availability:  Mostly only in the Northeast, especially New York (see here), plus through their online store

Cider Description:  Apples on the orchard floor layered over aromas of toffee, dust, beeswax and hay lead to a muscular and embracing mid-palate with flavors of ripe red apple, wild mint and something animalistic. The finish is an interplay between sweet and bitter, the leathery tannin full and present amidst still ripe fruit and brown sugar.

This dry, tannic cider should be served at cellar temperature: ~ 55 degrees. Pair with nutty cheeses like cave aged cheddar, savory meats like Merguez sausage, and all manner of vegetables, especially grilled.

See here for some great detailed information on the cider, including the percentage breakdown of apple varieties.

Cidery Description:  The sun comes up, the sun sets, the rains come and go and the cold and the heat rotate around the years.  And that is as it has been for thousands of years here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Somewhere, on the side of one of those hill sits our little cider orchard.

Sometimes, we marvel at our hard work: “I grafted those thousand trees, I grew those apples, I built that barn, I put up that trellis.” There is honed skill and hard labor involved in growing a crop, and making good cider. But in end, what makes what we do worth doing is a sense of the magic: in leaves absorbing sunlight, roots seeking minerals, raptors hunting mice and apples in the fall.

Here is a vintage of cider, which will never be repeated, reflecting the lives of trees in this one spot for this one year. Here are ciders that are elegant, feral, and mischievous. Here are ciders that surprise and transcend. We hope you enjoy them.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  their online store though Vino Shipper
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  their online store

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  High carbonation.  Smells mild but apple-forward, of acidity, tannins, and a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry (1.4% residual sugar).  Light bodied, with a frothy carbonated texture.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  Low tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of lemon, peach, green apple, brown sugar, and mineral.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  This was nice, but a bit too dry, acidic, and subtle for my personal tastes.  I liked the fruitiness and carbonation.  I agree this is better closer to room than fridge temperature, as it cuts the acidity a bit.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Beckhorn Hollow (although that was slightly sharper) and Eden Sparkling Dry

Closing Notes:  This is a well made cider-lover’s cider, and a great value!

Side Note:  UPS is not very alcohol-friendly, as you can’t have a package containing alcohol held at a UPS Store (like you can for any other signature required package).  So, if you like many folks work during typical delivery hours, you have to drive all the way out to the main facility (which is 45 minutes each way for me).

Have you tried Eve’s Cidery Autumn’s Gold?  What did you think?